Step Three

If either A or B reject the judgment of C and D, the matter is to be taken up with the entire church. This third step is never done in institutional churches—and for good reason—it would inevitably result in church splits as people took sides. Jesus never intended that local churches would be larger than what could fit in a house, and this smaller congregational family where everyone knows and cares about A and B is the intended scriptural setting for step three. In an institutional church, step three should be done in the context of a small group consisting of people who know and love both A and B. If A and B are members of different local bodies, several of the best-suited members from both bodies could serve as the decision-making body.

Once the church renders its judgment, brothers A and B should both submit to it, knowing the consequences of defiance. Apologies should be made, forgiveness granted and reconciliation occur.

If either A or B refuses to make the recommended apologies, he should be put out of the church and none within the church should fellowship with him any longer. Often, by this time, an unrepentant person will have already voluntarily removed himself, and he may have done so long before if he didn’t get his way at any step of the process. This reveals his lack of genuine commitment to love his spiritual family.